The result: turning an IKEA side table into a succulent garden

A few months ago I wrote a post about about Buzzfeed’s hack to turn an IKEA side table into a succulent garden. I’ve finally gotten around to doing the project, so here’s my review and some photos of the IKEA table garden as done by a moderately crafty parent as opposed to a team with a professional photographer!

I did this with my kids and they loved it, so it was great from that perspective. It took most of an afternoon and cost us $25 all-in (I’ll write about what we had vs. what we bought later), and I think it looks cool. So I’ll recommend this as a family project or just a personal one.





Getting ready (and supplies needed):

  • IKEA table (duh). I bought this one from a yard sale for $5.
  • Plants (succulents). I took the kids to a nearby gardening center and they each picked out a plant, plus we have a jade plant and a burrito cactus (really, that’s what the type is called) in our house, so I took cuttings from those, for a total of five plants. It cost $13 for the three succulents that we bought. Pics below of the nice purchased ones and the crazy existing ones.
  • Stuff for cutting the table open: ruler (had this), pen (had this), and X-ACTO knife (bought this at my local hardware store but easy to order on Amazon or wherever else – they didn’t have it at the gardening store we went to).
  • Stuff for filling in the table: plastic sheeting, rocks, and soil (had / easily procured all). When I showed the initial Buzzfeed post to the kind employee at my local hardware store to ask him what kind of plastic sheeting I needed, he studied it and then told me that I didn’t need any special kind and if it were him he’d just use two layers of plastic trash bags. So that’s what we did. I had a bag of soil already, and as for the rocks, my kids thought it was fun to go around gathering up rocks to put in, so those were free too.

Doing the project:

Two key tips: do this project outside (it makes a mess) and cutting open the table is WAY harder than the Buzzfeed video lets on. They made it look like you just measure, move the blade a few times, and the top of the table lifts right up. Um, no. . .

It took me a good half hour to cut through the table top and get the board off. The problem is that everything is attached, so even once you cut a nice square it does not want to come out. So that was the most aggravating part of the project. While I was doing this my children were happily searching for rocks and presenting them to me for my approval despite my protests that I trusted their rock-finding skills.

Once the hole was finally cut I placed two plastic trash bags in it and my kids added the rocks and a thin layer of soil. We then added the purchased succulents and the clipping, and put more soil in. As you can imagine, playing with the soil (e.g. “helping”) was a huge hit.

My final step was to cut the excess trash bag off once everything was in place. I’m sure you could’ve done this first but I figured I’d end up cutting it too short, so I left a little extra in place and figure I can trim down the plastic in a week or so once things have had a chance to settle.

And viola – a pretty cool looking table! At least, our family thinks so. And has already named all of the plants (that’s “Teepee” next to “Tiny” in the back, if you’re curious).



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